Twitter Advertising – Best Practices, Promoted Accounts, Promoted Trends and Promoted Tweets

Why it pays to get in on the conversation

Immediacy, affordability and relevancy are only a few of the reasons Twitter advertising offers wide potential for advertisers. Its active user base is huge (300 million). It offers diverse targeting options. And, most important, tweeting is conversational. Users interact immediately, re-tweet what they like (or dislike), share offers and quickly disseminate information to your benefit.

Finally, Twitter advertising is inexpensive. It provides good tracking and analytics and offers decent targeting options. But it is important to remember that things move fast on Twitter. Old news is no-news on this platform. The relevancy of posts can be very ephemeral.

Your ad options with Twitter Advertising

There are three well-proven ad types that have stood the test of time. They are Promoted Accounts, Promoted Trends and Promoted Tweets. Let’s dive straight in to their usage scenarios and benefits.

Promoted Accounts. These are your brand builders. Promoted Accounts help promote your brand or company, in part by letting users know that you are active on Twitter. They can also make your tweets more effective moving forward. Also, they can appear at the top of the “Who to Follow” area when viewed on a desktop. Finally, they appear in line on mobile devices.

Twitter Advertising Promoted Account page graphic.

Twitter Promoted Account

Furthermore, promoted Accounts can be targeted to specific audiences, based on affinity groups. Or,specific users and those like them (for example followers of @baristabar). Targeting variables include:

  • Interests
  • Geography
  • Gender
  • Tailored Audiences
  • TV Targeting
  • Device Targeting
  • Keywords
  • Users like your current followers
  • Languages
  • Users who follow specific influencers

Promoted Trends. These are Twitter’s prime ad real estate. They’re expensive, averaging six figures per day. But they expose you to the widest audience possible as they are seen by millions of users. If you have a product whose promotional phase is top-of-sales-funnel, Promoted Trends are an excellent way to drive mass awareness.

Twitter Promoted Trend snapshot.

Twitter Promoted Trend

Catching the moment, riding the wave

In Twitter advertising a trend can be anything you want. You create the hashtag. Then, pay to pepper it through other people’s conversations in a specific geographic or demographic target. Make them cool and interesting and people will pick up on them. Pass them around and all of a sudden you’re trending… and viral! Really great Promoted Trends capture the spirit of the moment, der zeitgeist.

True zeitgeist: The Trend people gobbled up

When the lights went off at the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo had an ace in the hole. Their ad agency’s social marketing team. Literally within 5 minutes these guys conceived and promoted a Twitter trend. It had a cool visual and a simple headline: You can still dunk in the dark.

Oreo’s famous Super Bowl tweet photo.

Oreo’s famous Super Bowl tweet

The Oreo team was monitoring the game looking for any excuse to tweet. Then a faulty electrical relay gave them a perfect opportunity. Half an hour of enforced quiet time shared by millions of people. And the results were tangible. A big spike in sales of Oreos.

Promoted Tweet example.

Promoted tweets are ideal for engaging audiences beyond your followers.

Promoted Tweets. These are your scouts and infiltrators, sent to engage audiences beyond your followers. Additionally, you can broadcast them to current followers. Promoted tweets enable you to promote offers and include links to optimized landing pages. Typically one-shot promotions, they don’t have much staying power. But the right offers and call to action can make them measurable and monetizable.

Lead Generation Cards: Capturing Your Leads & Audience Interest

Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards make it simple for users to respond to your Promoted Tweets, Trends and Accounts. Here’s how they work:

  1. You add Lead Generation Cards to your account
  2. When a user hits your Tweet, it expands to show a description of your offer. In addition, a call to action PLUS a pre-filled form featuring their name and email address.
  3. The user simply clicks a button to respond to your offer and send the above information to you.

Lead Generation Cards are excellent for promoting things like product clubs. However, if you’re going that route be sure to include a privacy policy. It’s not only best practice; it’s reassuring your user. You can choose between Cost Per Lead (CPL) or Cost Per Thousand (CPM). Note: The latter can get prohibitively expensive.

A Twitter Lead Generation Card photo.

A Twitter Lead Generation Card


Twitter advertising includes a dashboard providing good information on engagements, engagement rates, likes and link clicks. Some of the questions the Tweet Activity Dashboard can help answer include:

  • First, how many impressions do my Tweets receive?
  • Which of my Tweets resonates best with my target audience?
  • How do my Tweet metrics break out by organic and promoted activity?
  • How does my recent performance compare to past results?
  • Lastly, do my engagement metrics break down by type?

Again, it’s not super comprehensive. But you can drill down far enough to see who’s interacting with your brand. And, how they’re interacting and what’s hitting their hot buttons.

Always remember that the power to target with pinpoint accuracy is the #1 advantage you enjoy with any social media advertising. Twitter may be conversational in nature – but precision targeting is key to profitable conversations.

Feel free to share this blog, Twitter Advertising – Social Media Advertising Series, Part 4. We only ask that when shared no changes are made, and credits are given to the authors.

About the Authors

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John Thyfault, Vice President of Search & Social Strategy

John Thyfault

This post was authored by John Thyfault, Vice President of Search & Social Strategy, and Laurie B. Beasley, President of Beasley Direct & Online Marketing.

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Laurie B. Beasley, Founder and President

Laurie B. Beasley